Friday, February 26, 2010

Music Library: Lambchop, Lancelot Link, Larry Davis, The Last, Last Exit, Latyrx

Lambchop -  The Decline of Country And Western Civilization (1993-1999), Thriller (1997), Nixon (2000), Is A Woman (2002), "Paperback Bible," and OH (ohio) (2008).  Kurt Wagner's big-band-o'-Nashville-session-players Lambchop effortlessly merges shimmering alt-country with pure soul and sweet pop, while Wagner's lyrics are interesting and evocative and often dark while rarely providing a full story.  Most listeners won't hear that much difference from the earliest singles on Decline to the tracks on OH, but there is a subtle progression into more sincere lyrics and weirder pop structures.  Which is alright by me.

Lancelot Link and the Evolution - "Sha-La Love You."  This is a bubblegum track ostensibly by the secret agent/chimp of the 60s tv show.

Larry Davis - "Down Home Funk Pts 1 and 2."  Fantastic psych-soul track I hunted down while researching a possible article for the Oxford Am.  I didn't write the article and I'm too lazy to see if this one ended up on the actual Oxford Am cd, but I'll look later tonight.  It should be there.

The Last - Confession (1988) and Awakening (1989).  This is a power-pop band that was on SST in the late 80s.  I'm sad to say that I don't like their music much.  Although they strive to create Beatles-or-Big Star-esque harmonies and melodies, I think the skill is there, but the craft is missing.  I can't remember any of these songs once they're over, and that's not good for power pop.

Last Exit - Last Exit (1986), Koln (1986), and Cassette Recordings '87 (1987).  If you, like me, enjoy the occasional ear-peel, this band did the job better than just about anyone else out there.  Although this was ostensibly jazz, it is from the noisiest, most metallic wing of jazz and you'd be forgiven for thinking it was merely a particularly bizarre rock outfit.  In fact, you'd be about as right to think of this as rock as you would to think of it as jazz.  And it's brutal, with the legendary sheets-of-scalding-noise guitarist Sonny Sharrock and the brutal howl of saxophonist Peter Brötzmann fronting bassist Bill Laswell and  drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson (who also sang/shouted on some tracks).  These albums were all recorded live, which is typical - I believe I read somewhere - of all of Last Exit's albums. My favorite track is "Catch As Catch Can" from the self-titled album, which borrows the bassline from Can's "Halleluwah" and marries it to an beautifully ugly sound.  Excellent for clearing a room.  Those who are left will be interesting people indeed.

Latyrx - The Album (1997).  With Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker on the mics and DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, and Lyrics Born himself providing the mix, this is a wonderful and loopy album.  The best track is the first, "Latyrx," which pans each mc to a different ear and lets them set down asymmetrical rhymes.


Anonymous 2:58 PM, March 01, 2010  

Last Exit did exactly one studio album - 1989's Iron Path. It's good, if not quite as face-peeling as the live stuff.

Hayden Childs 3:21 PM, March 01, 2010  

Great name, though. I'll have to check it out.

Phil Freeman 4:50 PM, March 01, 2010  

Yeah, Iron Path is too Laswell-ized (he didn't bring in any guest musicians, but his trademark '80s sound is all over it, sapping much of its power).

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